Pro baseball veteran Dave Chase is the new general manager of the Batavia Muckdogs (Short Season A; New York-Penn League), tasked with overseeing operations after the league took control of the franchise and its future in Batavia up in the air.
Chase is a well-known figure in pro baseball from his time as president and GM of the Memphis Redbirds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), publisher of Baseball America and indy GM stints in Schaumburg and Sussex County.
He’ll need that experience in Batavia, where an offseason of drama led the league to take control of the Muckdogs in December 2017. Previously, the Muckdogs operations fell under an arrangement that saw the Rochester Red Wings (Class AAA; International League) run the club in exchange for proceeds from a sale. However, that agreement was terminated by the league last fall, clearing the way for the league to take over.
It’s widely assumed that the future of the team is not in Batavia, and offseason drama isn’t reassuring to many locals. But the team is in Batavia for 2018, and until a sale and/or announcement of a move is announced, Dwyer Stadium is home of the Muckdogs. So with so much uncertainty, Chase certainly faces some challenges. From The Batavian:
“I’ve done just about everything in baseball,” Chase said. “I’ve taken on teams that were just starting out and those going through internal changes, so when I heard the New York Penn League was taking over the franchise in Batavia, I reached out to Ben Hayes (president of the NYPL) in early December and told him if he needed somebody to come and unlock the gates every couple of days, I’d be happy to do that.”
Chase said he’s been hired to do more than just unlock the gates. When asked about the NYPL’s commitment to Batavia, he noted the team could have been moved this season or the league could have hired an inexperienced manager to come and unlock the gates on game days.
“My marching orders from Ben Hayes is to make sure we present a solid fan experience and a solid experience for the Marlins players,” Chase said. “That could have happened in other places. That could have happened in other places in 2018. But Batavia is where the NYPL wants to be.”
Indeed, there was some talk at the Winter Meetings about where the team could end up before a 2018 commitment to Batavia was made. So while Chase will be committed to good experiences in 2018, the league will most certainly be focusing on a sale — which could include a move in coming years.